DENVER (CBS4) – A curfew will go into place on Saturday night in Denver at 8 p.m. in order to prevent more damage and violence downtown. The chaos has happened on two successive nights and been part of the protests of the George Floyd death at the hands of police in Minnesota.
“We had hoped that we would not have to take these steps. But the aggressive and dangerous actions taken by some individuals and groups under the cover of darkness has made it necessary,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on Saturday afternoon.
The curfew continues through 5 a.m. on Sunday morning and applies to the entire City and County of Denver. The same curfew will also be in place on Sunday night. It applies to everyone with the following exceptions:
– law enforcement
– medical personnel
– news media
– people traveling to and from work or the airport
– people fleeing dangerous situations or seeking medical care
– people experiencing homelessness
“We have seen enough. We are not going to wait for these incidents to escalate any further,” Hancock said.
The Colorado National Guard has been deployed by Gov. Jared Polis to help Denver police “maintain public safety and protect infrastructure and property in the downtown area,” according to Hancock. Officers from other agencies will also be helping out. The city attorney says there could be up to a $999 fine or 300 days in jail for violation of curfew.
— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) May 30, 2020
RTD is also suspending bus and rail service into and out of the downtown area.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said most protesters are doing so the right way, but on Friday buildings and businesses were damaged downtown and dozens more people were arrested. A total of 13 were arrested in Thursday night’s protests and three police officers were hurt, with one getting injuries serious enough that they had to go to the hospital.
“We need your help to weed out those who are inciting violence. Please help us keep this city safe,” Pazen said.
Community leaders say other parties are hijacking the true meaning of the protesting, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock echoed those statements on Saturday.
“Whose life are you honoring when you loot businesses in our city? Businesses already struggling to survive through one of the toughest times imaginable. Something we’ve never seen in this nation and in our city. What change do you inspire by setting a car on fire, throwing rocks at police officers or vandalizing people’s property? When there are agitators with selfish motives and reckless intentions hijacking demonstrations and inciting violence with homemade explosives, rocks, bottles … graffiti and vandalism, our officers will respond to maintain people’s safety, to protect themselves and to protect public and private property,” Hancock said.